Medical marijuana was legalized in New York in July 2014 when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill S7923 into law. The law permits patients with a qualifying condition to register for an ID card, which grants them access to marijuana from state-regulated dispensaries.

Registered patients are permitted to possess a 30-day supply of medical marijuana in various forms, though smokable products are not allowed. Patients are not permitted to grow marijuana at home.

It is illegal to vaporize approved medical marijuana products in any space where public health law prohibits smoking, or within 100 feet of the entrances, exits, or outdoor areas of any public or private school, unless within private property.

Patients under 18 years of age may obtain and use medical cannabis with the consent of a parent or legal guardian. Adult patients may nominate up to two caregivers who can pick up and deliver medical marijuana on the patient’s behalf.

Qualifying Conditions

Medical marijuana can be recommended for any of the following medical conditions:

  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord nerve injury with intractable spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Opioid alternative for pain that degrades health and functional capability
  • Neuropathy
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Substance use disorder

You must also have one of these associated or complicating conditions:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Opioid use disorder

How to Apply for Medical Marijuana in New York

If you reside in New York with at least one of the qualifying conditions then you must take the following steps to obtain medical marijuana through the State Department of Health’s medical marijuana program (MMP):

  1. Patients must meet with a certified practitioner to see whether medical cannabis is right for their condition. The practitioner must be registered with the DOH to qualify patients for medical marijuana use.
  2. Once patients have a signed certification from a registered practitioner, they apply for a registry ID card online. Patients will receive a registry ID card in the mail once their application is approved.
  3. Patients may then visit a registered medical marijuana dispensing facility to purchase products that were recommended by a practitioner. Patients should bring their certification form and registry ID card to make a purchase.

Designated caregivers must also register with the Department of Health to obtain medical marijuana on behalf of a patient. Once registered and approved, caregivers also receive a registry ID that expires alongside that of their designated patient.

Technically, there is a $50 application fee for both patients and caregivers, but this is currently being waived.

Renewal Requirements

Your medical marijuana registry ID card is valid for one year from the date of issue, or for the duration designated by your physician. To renew your card, you will need to re-register with the New York State Department of Health.